The Fordham Rams didn’t play like a team plagued by injuries in their 24-19 home win over the Georgetown Hoyas on
Oct. 30. Despite being without starting quarterback Blake Wayne, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’13, and Fordham star running back Xavier Martin, FCRH ’11, the Rams overcame adversity with stellar play from running back Darryl Whiting, FCRH ’12.
Recording the third best individual rushing performance in Fordham history last Sunday, Whiting provided a spark for the Fordham offense. Notching an impressive 254 yards on 38 attempts for two touchdowns, Whiting owed his amazing day to the Rams’ offensive line. “The [offensive] line did a great job today,” Whiting said.
The Rams’ ground attack got off to a quick start with Whiting’s 47 yard rush down the sidelines of Jack Coffey Field. Whiting’s rush gave Fordham an early glimpse of the Hoyas’ end zone. The Rams took full advantage of their field position by scoring their first touchdown of the day on a Whiting two-yard rush.
Stepping in for the injured Blake Wayne, Fordham’s backup quarterback, Ryan Higgins, FCRH ’13, got off to a rough start by throwing an interception with 01:56 remaining in the first quarter. Higgins’ early mistake was soon forgotten, as the Rams were quickly able to force a Georgetown fumble. Setting up shop on the Georgetown 20 yard line, the Rams doubled their lead off another Whiting touchdown.
Despite the large Fordham lead, Georgetown was able to get on the board in the second quarter, when Higgins’ pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Despite Higgins’ mistakes, head coach Tom Masella likes the skills Higgins brings to the team. “Ryan [Higgins] can throw the ball down the field,” Masella said. “He threw two picks today, but he got us in the right place.”
Shortly after the Georgetown touchdown, things heated up between the Patriot League rivals. Georgetown defensive back Stephen Atwater was ejected from the game for apparently throwing a punch during a scuffle between the Rams and Hoyas. Shortly after the incident, play resumed, and the Rams were able to create a 10 point advantage off a field goal by Patrick Murray, FCRH ’13. The Hoyas had a chance to bring the Fordham lead down to seven, but their 21 yard field goal attempt sailed wide.
Georgetown had another opportunity to narrow the score, but their pass attempt was intercepted by Rams sophomore Brendan Melandophy, FCRH ’13. As a result of the Georgetown turnover, the Rams were able increase their lead over the Hoyas, off a Higgins touchdown pass.
Starting the second half with a 24-7 lead over the Hoyas, the once dominant Rams defense started to lose its focus. The Rams had a 17-point halftime lead cut to five after the Hoyas rallied for two touchdown scores in the fourth quarter. “We had matchup problems in the fourth [quarter]; they had a 6’5” receiver going against our 5’8” corner,” Masella said. “I think our defense is playing well. Anytime you hold someone to 19 points you’re doing something right on defense.”
In the end, the Rams were able to hold off the late Hoyas charge to win their second straight game. With their 24-19 victory, the Rams improved to 4-5 while Georgetown fell to 3-6. It was big game for the Rams and, more specifically, for Whiting. With Martin gradating next spring, Whiting is one of the future lead running backs for Fordham. “He [Whiting] ran the ball extremely well; he ran the ball extremely hard,” Masella said. “Darryl’s a big back that can run; it was great to see that today. This was a special game for him.”
It was not only the offensive line that helped Whiting’s performance but also with blocking of the wide receivers. “Coach made us focus on wide receiver blocking this week,” said Rams captain and wide receiver Jason Caldwell, FCRH ’11. “The offensive line did well blocking up front, but it was up to us, the secondary block as well.”
As for backup quarterback Higgins’ performance, Coach Masella was pleased. “He’s a young quarterback who hasn’t played a lot of football games, but he’s 2-0 as a starter and that’s a good thing,” Masella said. “Higgins—he has the arm, he has the strength behind the ball, and that’s really is helpful for the team,” Caldwell said.
With their latest victory in the record books, the Rams hope to gain momentum for the final two games of the season.